Your Handy Guide to the NY Armory Week Art Fairs

It was a brisk 67 degrees when I left my apartment this morning, which can only mean one thing: Armory Week is nearly upon us. Whether you view the prospect of back-to-back art fairs as a soporific schmoozefest or a welcome opportunity to see a lot of art in a short amount of time — and let’s face it, for most of us, it’s somewhere in between — you will most likely need some sort of guide to navigate it all. That’s where we come in! In addition to our more comprehensive run-down of September exhibitions and art events in New York City, we’ve compiled a digestible list of fairs to check out next week.

We’ve scored some special discounts for Hyperallergic readers: You can get 20% off Armory Show tickets using discount code HYPER20, as well as 50% off the Spring/Break Art Show (code HYPER502022) and Art on Paper (code HYPERALLERGIC).

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Finally, we also have a nifty Google map, below, so you can trek from the Seaport District to Hudson Yards to Madison Avenue without despairing. Happy fair-hopping!

The Armory Show

It was at the fabled Armory Show over 100 years ago that Marcel Duchamp shocked audiences with his painting “Nude Descending a Staircase, No. 2” (1912). Nowadays the fair, which was revived at the end of the last century by four New York art dealers, hosts some of the leading art galleries and attracts collectors the world over.

Art lovers have enjoyed its new home at the Javits Center, which makes the fair feel more comfortable than ever. This year’s Presents section is devoted to galleries under the age of 10, while two curated sections — Focus and Platform — will both highlight Latinx and Latin American art. The first, organized by Carla Acevedo-Yates, takes an intersectional approach to environmentalism “focusing on personal and political climates as they interact with race and gender,” while the second, curated by Tobias Ostrander, reimagines public monuments through large-scale installations and site-specific works.

Upending the logic of the heroic monument, many of the projects on view in Platform will offer a fresh, revisionist take on the concept of historical memory and all that it has omitted. For his installation “Wild Flowers” (2020), for instance, Iván Argote cast fragments of Wall Street’s George Washington statue and transformed them into uncanny planters; Carolina Caycedo’s poetic textile work “Muxeres en mi” (2019) celebrates Latin American and Latinx women artists whose names she embroidered on articles of clothing sourced from family members and friends.

This year, a new Armory Spotlight program will feature the New York-based multidisciplinary performance and experimental art space The Kitchen, which will present rarely seen material from its archive, dating back to its founding days as an artist collective in 1971.

A series of special events will accompany the art fair, including the fifth annual Curatorial Leadership Summit, chaired by Mari Carmen Ramírez, curator of Latin American Art at the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston. The summit will host curators from around the world for a discussion about the differences and affinities between Latin American and Latinx art.

Alongside the flagship fair are satellite art fairs across the city that attract galleries and arts venues of all types to showcase their best and brightest.

Definitely a must-attend if you want to see what sells in the art scene.
Javits Center (429 Eleventh Avenue, Midtown West, Manhattan)
September 9–11

Rebecca Morgan, “Panty Stealers (After Diana and Actaeon)” (2019), graphite on paper (image courtesy the artist and Spring Break Art Show)

Spring Break Art Show

Last year’s edition of Spring Break Art Show featured sculptures made out of bread and a makeshift Gothic chapel built in a Bushwick studio, so naturally, expectations are high for next week’s show, which also marks the 10-year anniversary of the delightfully eccentric fair. Themed around Naked Lunch, the 11th New York City iteration invites “new portraiture, complex realism, updates on the artist gaze, a ‘Renaissance’ approach to multimedia, poetics and problems with objectification, and many happy Hellenistic returns.” Expect a vibrant community of artists, friends, and oddballs creating works refreshingly outside of the mainstream art world.
625 Madison Avenue, 10th and 11th floors, Midtown East, Manhattan
September 7–12

Stacey Lee Webber, “We The People: Cops & Robbers” (2022), hand stitched paper currency, 27 x 18.5 inches (image courtesy Bertrand Productions)

Art on Paper

If the term “works on paper” makes you think of prosaic watercolor landscapes and haphazardly sketched charcoal studies, well, you’ve clearly never been to Art on Paper. The fair has been praised for testing the limits of the versatile medium year after year, showcasing not just wall-hanging art but also sculpture and even performance. A hundred galleries will exhibit modern and contemporary paper-based work at this year’s New York City edition. Keep an eye out for Bang Geul Han’s series of tapestries, woven from legal documents on topics including abortion and immigration, and Stacey Lee Webber’s hand-stitched paper currency works.
Pier 36 (299 South Street, Lower East Side, Manhattan)
September 8–11

Juanita McNeely, “On the Edge” (early 1970s), oil on linen, 89 x 60 x 2 inches (image courtesy James Fuentes and Independent New York)

Independent 20th Century

Take a look at Independent’s exhibitor list for its upcoming edition and it may look a bit different from previous years, sprinkled with galleries not exclusively focused on the emerging-to-mid-career category that is usually its bread and butter. That’s because this fall, the fair is launching “Independent 20th Century,” dedicated to work made between the years 1900 and 2000. That chapter of art history has been far from overlooked by scholars and critics — if anything, it’s been theorized to the point of exhaustion — but many of its artists were forgotten or left out of the narrative, and fair hopes to introduce lesser-known modern names. Don’t miss James Fuentes Gallery’s solo booth of alluringly somatic paintings by Juanita McNeely, whose work explores her personal experience with abortion before Roe v. Wade, among other chillingly resonant topics.
Cipriani South Street (10 South Street, Financial District, Manhattan)
September 8–11

Clio Art Fair

If even the Spring Break Art Show is too scene-y for you, then Clio Art Fair may be up your alley. Touting itself as an independently minded “anti-fair,” the biannual and bicoastal show was created to give exposure to independent international artists who are not exclusively represented by any New York or Los Angeles gallery. This year’s edition will feature a special section curated by Asya Rotella that investigates the relationship between human beings and screens, unsettlingly titled Maybe I am Your Mother.
Five Five Zero (550 West 29th Street, Chelsea, Manhattan)
September 8–11

Hrag Vartanian contributed to this article.

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